World Wind and Solar (WWS) is an independent service provider that offers operations and maintenance services for existing and newly commissioned solar and wind energy projects. Their work spans all types of services, from land management, such as lawn and fence care, to panel cleanings and scheduled inverter maintenance. WWS aims to hire and train workers from the local communities where it has established branch offices to meet the service demands of large ongoing projects.
WWS is an operations and maintenance company headquartered in Tehachapi, California that works with clients across the U.S. to perform routine operations and maintenance of utility-scale solar systems, as well as any unexpected maintenance. Daryl Ragsdale, Director of Business Development, describes their work as having “the technical, mechanical, and safety capability to perform any of the services that require a human being to maintain solar systems.” The maintenance involved in a solar system includes tasks such as lawn mowing, erosion control, fence line cleaning, fence repairs, inverter maintenance, panel cleaning, electrical and mechanical maintenance, and any corrective maintenance and troubleshooting that may occur during the life of a system.
To provide these services, WWS employs about 400 permanent field technicians with a wide range of skills. One crew may have 30 technicians who mow lawns at dozens of sites for ten months out of the year. Another crew may include 20 workers who run scheduled preventative maintenance (for example, checking wires, scans, and combiner boxes) on 600 commercial facilities throughout the year. Another crew may focus on responding to emergency maintenance such as storm repair or troubleshooting.
WWS values employee retention and heavily invests in its employees. A unique attribute of WWS is that all employees attend the WWS University for training. WWS University is a company-specific training program that provides both classroom and on-the-job training for its employees. Using this tailored approach, WWS can ensure its workforce gains the knowledge and skills necessary to perform the range of services the company offers.
Since WWS provides services for systems across the country, it is working on a regionalization effort to set up branches in areas with large ongoing projects. By establishing regional branches WWS prioritizes local workforce development. Through its mentorship training program and relationships with local trade and technical schools, WWS produces a strong workforce pipeline from nearby communities.
When thinking of the future of WWS, Ragsdale believes that electrical and mechanical technician positions will continue to expand, along with project manager roles overseeing multiple crews and projects. The company also wants to take advantage of new technology and automation for remedial tasks such as washing and mowing. While Ragsdale thinks that automation has the potential to make a huge impact in the operations and maintenance of solar systems, he says that WWS will continue to expand its workforce as the company grows.